Lesson Plans

Prefer to lead your own lessons? We offer our lesson plans for free and have adapted them for personal use. Our lessons focus on waste literacy with activities that explore our relationship with plastics and their impact on aquatic ecosystems. All lessons are designed to inspire solutions towards plastic pollution. While designed from our Grade 5 lesson plans, these can be adapted for all ages, and are designed to work both in the classroom and at home.

Each lesson plan contains an ‘Instructor Guide’ which outlines the materials needed for each activity. Lesson plans have been designed to easily download our online resources and use items commonly found at home.


Plastic Cycle

Understanding the plastic cycle (i.e., how plastic is made, how it is used, and where it goes when we throw it “away”) is important to comprehend how we have reached unsustainable levels of plastic production and plastic pollution. This lesson will introduce students to what the definition of “plastic” is, teach them about the plastic lifecycle, and introduce the concept of a circular economy.

Watersheds & Their Relationship to Litter

Learning about watersheds is important in order to understand how waterways are connected and why our interactions play a larger impact on an ecosystem. Participants will be shown a visual representation of a watershed and have a chance to visualize different sources of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Finally, participants will be asked to consider their own watershed and what sources of local pollution may exist.

Impacts of Plastic on Ecosystems

Plastic pollution in the environment is not only ugly to look at but has the potential to impact ecosystems in many harmful ways. This lesson introduces the impacts of plastic pollution on ecosystems while inspiring action to create solutions. Participants will participate in activities to understand the impacts of entanglement and ingestion on wildlife, with a focus on animal species found in the Great Lakes ecosystems.

Solutions to Plastic Pollution

Plastic is found nearly everywhere in our environment and will become an even larger problem if we don’t develop new solutions to reduce its impact. This lesson will introduce participants to the concept of a Solutions Hierarchy as they learn about approaches to plastic pollution solutions, and an introduction to the different levels that action on plastic pollution can happen and the stakeholders involved (individual, communities, government, companies). The lesson will also engage participants in a creative exercise to identify and develop a solution to an item of plastic relevant in their own lives.

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